Online Educa Berlin 2013: Quality approved, accredited, competency models for Europe


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This slide presentation was part of a Learnshop at Online Educa Berlin 2013. This was an interactive, discussion based session:
Competency-based education addresses the rising cost of education and supports employability of graduates. It offers a path for adults to accelerate degree completion by acknowledging prior learning and work experience. Until recently, prior learning has meant transfer credit from a different educational institution. Although this is still relevant, it is expanding to include consideration of learning via open educational resources and MOOCs. Can these also be incorporated as part of an accredited degree program? Work in small groups with the expert panel in this dynamic and interactive Learnshop to grow your theoretical and practical understanding of competency-based higher education and develop thinking on implementation of this model in a European context.

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  • Salac, M. (2013). Framed [Photo]. Retrieved from
  • No longer represent WGU but I can speak about the model
  • No longer represent WGU but I can speak about the model and
  • No longer represent WGU but I can speak about the model and
  • Claremont Colleges Digital Library (1965). Students In Class – Pitzer College. [Photo]. Retrieved from
  • Rufo. (2010). Bologna 6a.m. [Photo]. Retrieved from
  • Online Educa Berlin 2013: Quality approved, accredited, competency models for Europe

    1. 1. Learnshop: Developing quality-approved accredited competency-based programmes in European institutions Online Educa Berlin 6 December 2013 11:45 – 13:15 (GLL53) Margaret Korosec University of Hull Paul Bacsich Sero Consulting & Matic Media
    2. 2. Overview Salac, M. (2013). Framed [Photo]. Retrieved from
    3. 3. Overview • Competency-based learning • Western Governors University • Regulation and Accreditation • • • • • Federal Regulation Equivalency Accreditation US Credit System Online Programs • Exploration for European Context - discussion
    4. 4. Competency Competency-based learning* is.. • Students advance upon mastery; • Competencies include explicit, measurable, transferable learning objectives that empower students; • Assessment is meaningful and a positive learning experience for students; • Students receive timely, differentiated support based on their individual learning needs; • Learning outcomes emphasize competencies that include application and creation of knowledge, along with the development of important skills and dispositions. * Based on a convening between iNACOL and CCSSO in 2011.
    5. 5. WGU • Pioneer in competency-based education since 1997. • Fully online, self-paced and asynchronous. • Not-for-profit and affordable. • Support from student and course mentors. • Undergraduate and graduate degrees in teaching, information technology, nursing and business. • Uses credit hours and direct assessment (to be discussed later).
    6. 6. WGU • Students can accelerate upon successful course completion. • Courses offer external learning resources delivered through the proprietary student portal. • Formative assessment built into the learning resources or portal. • Summative performance and objective assessments evaluate student competencies.
    7. 7. WGU Although WGU is a well established competencybased institution, it is still based on the credit unit – or equivalent competency unit. This is only to highlight that this „disruptive‟ model was and still is working within the previous framework of US regulation before the more recent move to acknowledge direct assessment as a viable measurement.
    8. 8. Take a closer look Claremont Colleges Digital Library (1965). Students In Class – Pitzer College. [Photo]. Retrieved from
    9. 9. Regulation and Accreditation U.S. Perspective on: • Federal Regulation • Student Financial Aid • Accreditation • Regional and subject • US Credit System • Online Programs
    10. 10. Federal Regulation According to the Middle States Commission on Higher Education evidence of the following requirements and expectations apply to accredited institutions: - Academic study of sufficient content, breadth, and length; - Levels of rigor appropriate to the programs or degrees offered; - Statements of expected student learning outcomes; - Direct evidence of student learning; and - Assessment results that provide sufficient, convincing evidence that students are achieving key institutional and program learning outcomes.[1].pdf
    11. 11. Federal Regulation Regarding competency-based programs: - Considered „direct assessment program‟; - Does not use credit or clock hours; - Direct assessment of student learning or recognition of direct assessment of student learning by others (such as from other institutions or MOOCs); - Assessment consistent with accreditation of the institution; - Institution establishes methodology to equate recognized credit hours with direct assessment system.
    12. 12. Federal Regulation Higher Education Act Title IV for financial aid eligibility: “Competency-based approaches to education have the potential for assuring the quality and extent of learning, shortening the time to degree/certificate completion, developing stackable credentials that ease student transitions between school and work, and reducing the overall cost of education for both careertechnical and degree programs. The Department plans to collaborate with both accrediting agencies and the higher education community to encourage the use of this innovative approach…” 2 2
    13. 13. Federal Regulation on Equivalency • …an institution must establish a methodology to reasonably equate the direct assessment program (or the direct assessment portion of any program, as applicable) to credit or clock hours for the purpose of complying with applicable regulatory requirements.1 • The institution must provide a factual basis satisfactory to the U.S. Secretary of Education for its claim that the program or portion of the program is equivalent to a specific number of credit or clock hours. 1[1].pdf
    14. 14. Accreditation • Quality assurance and quality improvement of education accredited through the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). • Private, non-profit national organization representing more than 3,000 colleges and universities and over 60 national, regional and specialized accreditors. • Nongovernmental and decentralized to largely reflect the complexity of higher education in the United States.
    15. 15. Accreditation • The accreditors that are recognized in CHEA fall into four categories: regional, national faith-related, national career-related and programmatic accreditors. • Regional accreditation is generally viewed to be the highest level of institutional accreditation with six regional accreditors: Middle States, New England, North Central, Northwest, Southern and Western. • See
    16. 16. U.s. Credit system Contact hour or clock hour. A unit of measure that represents an hour of scheduled instruction given to students. Source: IPEDS Credit or credit hour. A unit of measure representing the equivalent of an hour (50 minutes) of instruction per week over the entire term. It is applied toward the total number of credit hours needed for completing the requirements of a degree, diploma, certificate, or other award. Source: IPEDS Credit hours are used by most U.S. higher education institutions to calculate, record, and interpret the amount of earned academic or training credits that students accumulate en route to earning certifications, diplomas, degrees, and other qualifications. Institutions typically use credit hours to record all types of academic work including independent research and not just taught courses. Source: USNEI
    17. 17. Online programs The Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) falls under the career related accreditors within the CHEA structure and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. DETC accredits “distance learning courses and programs that prepare individuals to sit for independently-administered certification examinations”. Regionally accredited institutions offering face to face and distance or online programs do not require separate accreditation.
    18. 18. Exploration for European context Rufo. (2010). Bologna 6a.m. [Photo]. Retrieved from
    19. 19. ~ Margaret Korosec Thank you University of Hull ~